YouTube just announced a new feature that allows its millions of video creators to look up whether they can legally use a copyrighted song and whether there are any restrictions or monetization requirements. The complicated legal strictures affecting copyrighted music in YouTube videos have been a big bugaboo for the Google-owned video giant, its creators and music companies alike.

song lookup featureSome years ago, the company put in place its Content ID system, which was designed to reduce the use of pirated content on YouTube while funneling licensing income to original rights owners willing to make their music available. That system has had plenty of criticism from networks, studios and labels, but has provided rights owners a system to either block piracy or generate revenues on their content.

But for YouTube creators using backing music that is copyrighted, they have had to guess whether a given song (or even a remix of a song) was legally available before they uploaded their video, according to a post on the YouTube Creator blog the company runs. If a song wasn’t legally available, Content ID could block or restrict access to the video once it was uploaded. The new look-up feature will display any restrictions that may affect the song and the video using it before the video is posted.

YouTube already offers thousands of copyright-free songs and sound effects on its Audio Library that its creators can use without charge. Now users can search the library for other songs they may want to use before getting a gotcha notice after the fact.